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A Practical Method of Calculating Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) for Macroinvertebrates

Author(s): Xue-Hua Duan; Zhao-Yin Wang; Meng-Zhen Xu

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Keywords: Macroinvertebrate; Habitat suitability; Substrate

Abstract: Benthic macroinvertebrates are vital components of river ecosystems, and have been commonly used as indicator species for river ecology assessment. Habitat suitability is crucial in structuring stream macroinvertebrate communities, and is the suitability combination of physical conditions and chemical conditions. This paper aims to assess the importance of primary physical and chemical habitat variables in explaining macroinvertebrate assemblages via field investigations. Sixty-one sampling sites on 31 rivers in China were selected to investigate the structures of macroinvertebrate assemblages. Substrata are categorized as mineral substrata and organic substrata. Mineral substrata differing in grain size have significant effect on benthic bio-diversity. Aquatic plants, detritus and organic matter as special substrate pattern, which are referred as organic substrata, are also important in shaping macroinvertebrate assemblages. Organic pollution imposes a large ecological stress on benthic community. High concentration of organic matter, especially total nitrogen, obviously results in the decrease of biodiversity, and in the simplification of invertebrate structures. Thus, assessment of habitat suitability for benthic organisms must take the effect of water quality into consideration. A practical method to calculate a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) is proposed, integrating the effects of the primary physical (including biotic and abiotic) and chemical factors. The biodiversity index value and taxa richness have significantly positive relationship with HSI, and increase non-linearly with HSI.


Year: 2010

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